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Q: Comparison of Detroit Michigan murders and Iraq combat deaths ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Comparison of Detroit Michigan murders and Iraq combat deaths
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: milligan-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 08 Sep 2004 10:22 PDT
Expires: 08 Oct 2004 10:22 PDT
Question ID: 398411
Would you please compare the combat deaths (not including accidental
deaths) in Iraq with murders in Detroit Michigan from the beginning of
the Iraq war to the present date?
Subject: Re: Comparison of Detroit Michigan murders and Iraq combat deaths
Answered By: leapinglizard-ga on 08 Sep 2004 11:30 PDT
Dear milligan,

The U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003. Since then, 538
days have elapsed, not including today, September 8, 2004. In that
span of time, 752 U.S. troops have died in combat.

"The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 19, 2003, when forces
belonging primarily to the United States and the United Kingdom
invaded Iraq."

Wikipedia: 2003 invasion of Iraq

"The Defense Department's most recent published count, as of Tuesday,
Sept. 7, shows 998 U.S. service members dead. Of those, 752 died as a
result of hostile action and 246 died of non-hostile causes."

Kansas City Star: A Daily Look at U.S. Iraq Military Deaths

On average, therefore, the U.S. has suffered 752.0/538.0 = 1.40 combat
deaths per day between the first day of the invasion and today.

As for Detroit homicides, these 538 days have included two summers,
which would tend to artificially inflate the death count beyond the
annual average, given that murders are significantly more frequent in
warmer weather. But we know that in 2003, the latest full year for
which we have figures, 366 murders were recorded in Detroit.

"In Detroit, homicides dropped 9 percent to 366, though the city?s
murder rate ranks fifth among big cities."

Detroit News: Detroit is most violent big city

This yields an average of 366.0/365.0 = 1.00 murders per day. Thus,
comparing the recent Detroit murder rate to the Iraq combat-death
toll, we see that the U.S. armed forces has lost on average 40% more
service members to enemy fire than the number of people murdered in

Another way to put it is to extrapolate from the Detroit average to
the span of the Iraq invasion. In the 538 days during which 752 U.S.
combat deaths occurred, 538 Detroit murders would have been committed,
which makes a difference of 214 deaths. In conclusion, the Iraqi armed
forces and rebel militias are 40% more lethal than the criminals of

If you feel that my answer is incomplete or inaccurate in any way, please
post a clarification request so that I have a chance to meet your needs
before you assign a rating.



Search Queries:

iraq combat death count

Request for Answer Clarification by milligan-ga on 08 Sep 2004 12:25 PDT
I would like the actual murders in Detroit for the time stated, not an
extrapolation of the 2003 figures.

Clarification of Answer by leapinglizard-ga on 08 Sep 2004 12:55 PDT
Those figures are difficult to find, but I'm working on it. How long can you wait?


Clarification of Answer by leapinglizard-ga on 08 Sep 2004 13:47 PDT
I have spoken by phone to the Detroit Police Department's Office of
Public Information and to their Homicide section, but they have not
been forthcoming. They are unwilling, apparently for legalistic
reasons, to release their homicide figures, and insist that I must
file a Freedom of Information Act through their law unit if I desire
access to that information.

The FBI does collect homicide statistics from local agencies as part
of their Uniform Crime Reporting program, but their reports are not
issued until the following year.

The best I've been able to do so far, and I think it's quite good, is
the following.

From one news story, we learn that there were 68 homicides in the
first three months of 2003, or the first 90 days. Observe that it's
wintertime, with a lower murder rate than usual, equaling only 276
homicides on an annualized basis.

Detroit homicides soar 50% over '03

The invasion of Iraq began on March 19, so we proportionally deduct 12
days from  the three-month figure.

  78.0/90.0 * 68 = 58.9

Now, the same story tells us that 361 murders occurred all year in
2003. This is not exactly the same figure as that given by a different
story in the same paper, but no matter. We deduce that between March
19 and the end of 2003, very nearly

  361 - 59 = 302

murders were recorded. We have interpolated those 12 days in March, it
is true, but our error is unlikely to be greater than the error in the
newspaper's own homicide reporting.

As for 2004, we read in a rather fresh article, dating to August 30,
that homicides have risen by 9% in Detroit this year.This implies that
rather than

  243.0/365.0 * 365 = 240.3

murders in these first 243 days of 2004, there have been

  1.09 * 240.3 = 261.9

murders through August 30.

Rounding off and summing up, we find that

  302 + 262 = 564

murders, or at least a very similar number, have occurred in Detroit
at the same time as 752 U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. This revised
figure shows that the Iraqi defenders are 33% more lethal than the
Detroit criminals.


Clarification of Answer by leapinglizard-ga on 08 Sep 2004 13:54 PDT
Whoops, I forgot to include a link to the article citing a 9% rise in
Detroit homicides this year.

Remember, we are not making any kind of estimate when we compute 109%
of the 2003 homicide rate, but strictly deducing the murder toll from
which the article obtained that 9% figure. Our 2004 figure is correct
insofar as the article is correct.

The only source of error in the above calculation is the 12-day
interpolation for the last days of March, which is a very brief span
compared to the overall period we're covering.

To account for the first week of September, I would say that 570
murders have occurred in Detroit since March 19, 2003, and I stand by
this number.

Subject: Re: Comparison of Detroit Michigan murders and Iraq combat deaths
From: nevarge-ga on 29 May 2005 19:58 PDT
While the comparison is interesting, it seems to highlight that it is
safer in Iraq with a much larger population, than it is in Detroit. In
Iraq, there are specific terrorist elements sworn to harm Americans
and those who help them. This is a war situation. In Detroit, it is
violence exorted upon ordinary citizens who simply live in Detroit.
This is not a war situation. It appears that it would be safer to be
among 21 million Iraquis than approximately one million Detroiters. It
would be interesting to see the murder rate per capita in both Iraq
and Detroit, including soldier deaths of all those supporting our
efforts in Iraq as a murder statistic.

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